Big Magic – In a Light Package

The first time I picked up this book, I’ll admit I scanned it, and then put it back. I had it out from the library, and when there was someone next in line, I let it go back.

It seemed light, and I have read so much on creativity I thought it wasn’t very relevant.


Then I listened to Brene Brown (Rising Strong) talk on Elizabeth Gilbert’s podcast, and their synergy was so great. I immediately got Rising Strong to read, and also recommitted to trying Big Magic.

And they made great companion reads. While Rising Strong gets into the nitty-gritty of recreating your patterns of failure, Big Magic talks philosophy about creativity. And while it IS a light read, it tends to very lightly draw out some of the darkest myths of creative work.

And then illuminates them with more balanced, truthful ways to think.

This book is one that’s going on my very short list of books to actively push on people. (Like Rising Strong!) Because it’s light enough to breeze through–while also collecting so much of what we need to hear about retraining our beliefs on creativity.

How did I not realize this book was my jam?


I will be giving away an e-book of either Big Magic or Rising Strong to one of the attendees of my webinar on Thursday!

Unlock Your Agency: Three Tools to Become the Hero of Your Life

September 30th, Friday, 7pm Central on ZOOM

Blunt Conversations with Myself

I spent the whole day like I was in the wrong gear, engine making a grinding sound. I couldn’t get anything done, though it was so URGENT to do so, though I kept reaching out for things to do…

Irritating, but I knew that I just hadn’t asked the right question yet.

So I kept going for walks. Putting on my EOs. Journalling and reading and…

Big Magic tripped the switch. Elizabeth Gilbert was describing how she worked part time as she wrote. I sagely nodded my head. She noted that she’s seen artists burn out trying to make their living off their art. Oh, yes, I also…

:screeching breaks sound effects:

I had made a point of not doing that to writing–but then I’d given myself a near impossible goal-expectation in my coaching business. THAT’S why I couldn’t get traction on my to-dos.

The best thing, though, was that my process to question my paralysis worked. It took longer than I wanted it to, but it worked.

I asked, “Why am I afraid? What am I making this about?”

I went for walks, journaled, and read books that seemed likely to shake loose thoughts about it.

What are you stuck on lately? Have you asked those hard questions of yourself?

That’s not the end of the story, so check in again on Friday!

Serial Moving: a Writer Trait?

I accidentally bought the recording of The Thalia Bookclub on Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, instead of the audiobook, many moons ago. After disparaging my intelligence, I then figured out how to actually get the book.

It’s actually mainly an interview of the author Susanna Clarke with Neil Gaiman, so the other day I turned it on to listen to as I went on my morning walk. (Turns out it’s great and my money was not wholly wasted!)

Something that struck me in her bio is that she’s another writer who grew up moving around. In her case, as the child of a Methodist minister. But be it as an Army Brat, pastor’s kid, or just a dad moving ahead of “restructuring” in his company (me), a lot of writers seem to have grown up on the fringes.

Maybe not even because of moves. Books are a shelter because they take you into their world unstintingly.

I played Little League baseball and soccer in one house, became a Scottish Highland dancer after a move, then moved somewhere there were no teachers. Went to Japan and joined the softball club, came back to the US and eventually took up yoga. I couldn’t find my identity in these location-based pastimes.

But my journals and books? They moved with me.

I think that’s why I loved fantasy and eventually realized it’s what I wrote. People were in motion, and their lives were changing. That life I understood.

I read Robin McKinley’s bio of books she read where, and saw myself, currently working through the Silmarillion in Japan.

My two favorite releases from this year (so far–I’m not ahead on my reading) are two books that involve girls on the move:

Rebel of the Sands and Girl from Everywhere


Both different in tone and subgenre, I loved them not only for reflecting a reality I knew. Their writers clearly knew what it was to be the girl on the fringes, too.

Maybe someday our peregrinations will cross.

Do you share traits with people you admire, who do the work you want to do? Make this your journalling prompt for the day!

And then sign up for MoJo, with daily journalling prompts like this to help you look into your creative process and history, before registration closes on Friday.


How Journalling Saved My Life

OK, “saved my life” sounds a little dramatic. And when I say that I don’t mean that I was dangling by my fingertips from a cliff, and Journalling Personified scooped me up in their strong, muscled arms.

In this case, “my life” is the life that I want to live. Where I am focused and happy enough to write, increasing my skill level. Where I am secure enough to make new friends, try new things, see new places.

To live as Bethany, not some ghostly shell of her personality.

Journalling, in the method of the Artist’s Way, brought me back to life.

I guess it’s dramatic even when stated more accurately.

Part of why I’m passionate about coaching is that it does what The Artist’s Way course does, with a partner-in-crime who helps you accelerate the process. Asking questions that make you really look at the emotional underpinnings of your failures or blocks. Making you spell it out for yourself.

“I believe I cannot succeed because…”

The good news: once you write or speak the stupid things you believe, because some misinformed or careless person gave you that program to run, you can rewrite that code.

Here’s a great first question to start off with:

“On a scale of 1 to 10, how committed are you to fixing the problem?”

What problem? Oh, I think you’ll know if you start journalling about it.

NoMoReMo – the recovery program your write-brain has been waiting for!

I am launching my very first coaching program for creatives! It starts Dec. 1. You guessed it–Post-Nano Day 1.

I’m calling it NoMoReMo: Novel Month Recovery Mode. Here’s a bit about why this matters to me:

Even if you’re not doing a NaNoWriMo project, this program will be a great holiday stress inoculation. 21 days of restorative food, rest, and fun are targeted toward the worn out writer, artist, introvert. To rebuild the reserves of your humanity.

You know what I’m talking about.

You’ll end up with more energy, focus, and even socializing power (should you choose to use it).

The content: a series of exclusive e-mails, videos, and recipes, with weekly group video calls. Plus, a mini aromatherapy kit!

The bonus round: one half-hour brainstorming session on your novel during December, one 50 minute complimentary health coaching session during January or February.

The cost: $50

The deal, a: $40 if signed up by Nov. 21st!

The deal, b: $40 if you bring a friend!

Join my free coaching newsletter list now to get a pre-series of e-mails during the last three days of NaNo. I will be cheering you on and giving you tips for focus and productivity! Use the code “NaNo” in the “free first session” box.

Get in!

If you are ready to buy the 21 Days NoMoReMo program, do the same, but use the code “NoMo” in that box.

My qualifications: I am a three-time NaNo winner, published poet, and am certified as a health coach with the Institute of Integrative Nutrition.

I also love Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. I used it along with wholistic remedies to navigate my recovery from blocked and depressed to writing and coaching.

Questions? Shoot me an e-mail at bethany (at) or write to me on the Unlock Facebook.